The latest news shows much change at the rear of the grid.
- Caterham appear to have stalled in their development path, and have been overtaken by Marussia in the constructors’ standings. They’ve just signed Charles Pic, and appear to have their eyes on Giedo van der Garde, casting doubt on the futures of their current line-up, Vitaly Petrov and Heikki Kovalainen.
- Marussia look to be progressing significantly over their rather abysmal showing last season, and are the “best of the rest” in the constructors championship, running in 10th place. They have yet to announce a replacement for outgoing Charles Pic; Max Chilton looks to be waiting in the wings.
- HRT have run into even more financial trouble, as the team is being put up for sale. Pedro de la Rosa has a contract for next year, and Narain Karthikeyan doesn’t.
A simple question: which of these three teams will outperform the others in 2013, and why? Speculate away!
If Marussia use KERS next year, and i’m almost certain they will, then i think they’ll probably be topping the 3 teams, although who knows, Caterham may be better next year.
Mind you, Caterham have out performed the Marussia’s all year, but have slowly let them catch up towards the end, and the only reason we can really say Marussia have 10th is due to a rather lucky 12th for Glock. That being said, well done on them from going 12th to 10th from last season.
HRT on the other hand, i’d love to see them still going next year, even rebranded as something else, more cars = more excitement. I’m still holding out someone will take the 13th grid slot next year or 2014.
Of the 3, only HRT are most likely to not be around next year. The others are going to be back markers again, whether they’re closer to the pack will remain to be seen if they get their cars going forward… or other make a dog of a car.
Not expecting to see HRT again, sadly. F1 needs more cars, there are too many drivers already!
On paper Caterham should be way ahead, but Marussia have done some good work with this year’s car. So there could be some close racing between them – which could be bad news for Max Chilton, who’s not quite there yet with his attacking and defending racecraft. But very quick over one lap.
I haven’t read whether either is building an all-new car for 2013, or throwing the kitchen sink at the new 2014 rules. This year’s cars weren’t good enough, so they ought to start from scratch next year – if they can afford to. That’s the only way they’ll ever catch up with the midfield.
There may be chances to do that – Gutierrez and Bottas could be vulnerable in their first couple of races (particularly Bottas who won’t have raced anything for 18 months). Same with the Force India driver, whether it’s a brand new Bianchi or a rusty Alguersuari or Sutil. And Sauber and Williams have indicated they’ll be updating the current cars, so is there a chance to out-develop them? (Don’t know about Force India, and very interested to see whether James Key’s first Toro Rosso looks like this year’s one, or a Sauber…)
Of the three teams, I have a hunch that Marussia are poised to make the most progress. They look to be on the right track in terms of car development, and seemingly solid financial backing. They’ll have a fairly even line-up of Glock, the experienced driver, and presumably Chilton, the rookie.
As for Caterham, they seem to be stagnating. Tony Fernandes made such daring predictions of the team raking in their first points this season, yet this has not materialized. This year, we’ve seen the Marussias get closer and closer to catching them in terms of pace, and it’s a pattern that’s likely to re-emerge next season. If they do decide to let Kovalainen go, they lose a consistent, experienced driver capable of developing the car, adding to the predicament.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see HRT just disappear off the grid, though I do hope they can continue in F1 in whatever guise they’ll assume.
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© 2014 Keith Collantine